While the iPhone was taking over the mobile world, Microsoft was waiting, watching and apparently scheming. This week, they actually started reacting, unveiling a series of Windows 7 smartphones.
According to the announcement, the line is expected “to deliver a phone that truly integrates the things people really want to do, puts those things right in front of them, and either lets them get finished quickly or immerses them in the experience they were seeking.”
That statement seems like a bit of a catchall, and so does the phone—in a good way. While Microsoft will have its share of apps, including Netflix, Twitter, eBay, and others, the company did show off a few unique features. The first is called “live tiles,” which comprises the device’s Start screen.
Live tiles allows you to keep track of real-time content, such as social media updates, weather, game info from Xbox LIVE, and calendar notices. Of course, it can also be customized to include photos, apps, and other favorites.
Also, Microsoft says that the Windows 7 smartphone “represents a new approach from Microsoft toward integrating products and services from across the company into the phone to create a richer experience and greater productivity.” That productivity includes Office, Zune and Xbox LIVE integration.
Some of that content will be incorporated into the phone’s Hub layout. There are six different hubs to highlight People, Pictures, Office, Music, Video and Games. Each hub serves as a central place for each activity. For instance, the People Hub combines Facebook statuses, phone numbers and contact info, and text messaging. The Game Hub allows users to access games, find new ones, and connect with friends, all on the go. The Office Hub includes mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on.
Aside from multiple features, there will also be multiple ways to carry the Windows 7 smartphone experience. Not content with just one design, we can expect a total of nine models to start, from companies like Samsung, HTC, LG and Dell.
The first of the Windows 7 smartphones will debut in Europe on October 21, 2010. The company says that the U.S. will get them shortly after, starting on November 9.
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